The Oron people of Akwa Ibom state residing in Cross River state, have given reasons why they revived a 150-year old ‘mbok’ cultural festival which had remained uncelebrated for many years.
Blueprint reports that the ‘mbok’ (traditional wrestling) festival, which took place at the Bayside community of Calabar South, Wednesday, witnessed a mammoth crowd of youths, women, political class, business men/women as well as young children in what has been described as one of the biggest gatherings of people in Bayside community in recent time.
In an interview, one of the organisers of the ‘mbok’ festival, Chief Daniel Okon Effiong, said the event sought to achieve two outstanding purposes.
“Firstly, it seeks to enhance our unity as Akpakip Oro people. We felt that reviving the ‘mbok’ festival will enhance our unity and give us a sense of belonging especially in a place that is not naturally your own.
“Secondly, the festival seeks to sustain our culture. Anyone who forsakes his culture is heading for destruction. Our culture is our way of life, it is our identity so we shall do everything within our capacity to sustain it.”
Also speaking, Obol Ekpenyong Efiom Iyamba, one of the traditional heads of the area, described the festival as unprecedented revival of a long forgotten culture.
“Oron people were known for their prowess in ‘mbok’ festival since about 1875. The ‘mbok’ ceased to take place since 1978 and has remained so before this revival.
“To encourage the gesture and ingenuity of the Akpakip Oro people in resuscitating this festival, we will donate a trophy to them on January 2, 2023, when the Njoro Ekpe festival shall be held in this same venue,” he submitted.